Tesla CEO Elon Musk nears first bonus payday, but it’s really complicated

Tesla CEO Elon Musk presents the Model Y (Photo: Teslarati)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk might have another reason to dance the way he did during the recent Gigafactory 3 event in China as he gets closer and closer to a big payday amounting to $346 million.

The Tesla chief does not take home any salary nor any cash bonus but he has options to vest based on the market capitalization and growth milestones of the electric car brand. As Tesla’s stock rose to more than double in the last three months, Musk might soon enjoy a record-breaking payday, according to Reuters.

On Monday, Tesla shares hit a record high and the trend continued on Tuesday closing at $537.92 per share. Tesla is poised to hit a stock market value of $100 billion if the gains continue and if that number is sustained for both a one-month and six-month average period, the company will grant Musk his massive first of 12 tranches of options that will allow him to acquire additional stock. He currently owns around 19 percent of the company or about 34 million shares.

For the next tranches to vest under the 2018 pay package for the Tesla CEO, the market cap of the electric carmaker should go up sustainably by $50 billion increments through the 10-year period set by the company. Musk will earn the full pay package if the market cap of Tesla hits $650 billion and other revenue targets and several profit targets.

For the purpose of comparison, the full pay package of Musk is comparable to Snap Inc. Founder Evan Spiegel’s $638 million pay in 2017 following the social network’s initial public offering. In 2018, CEO Robert Iger of Walt Disney earned stock grants amounting to $149.6 million after the company purchased 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets.

As one can see, Elon Musk’s pay package is pretty complicated. It’s really “pay for performance” linked to the company’s and shareholders’ long-term success. This CEO Performance Award structure ensures that the Tesla CEO remains motivated and will execute well to ensure the company will be well on both bottom-line and top-line basis.

So far, it has been quite a journey for Musk who has brought Tesla to a market cap of almost $97 billion today from less than $4 billion seven years ago. Because of this, it’s not a surprise why Tesla naysayers are converted to believers and for other successful entrepreneurs throw words of praises for the Tesla CEO. Tesla critic and CNBC host Jim Cramer, for example, has turned from a non-believer to a full-on bull who says the company has all the ingredients of a winner, and Shark Tank judge and multimillionaire businesswoman Barbara Corcoran said Elon Musk is a “wild man” who can beat the automotive giants.

Randell Suba: A curious soul who keeps wondering how Elon Musk, Tesla, electric cars, and clean energy technologies will shape the future, or do we really need to escape to Mars.
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